Prior to Friday night’s performance at Spiderhouse Ballroom as part of a Good Music Club taping curated by Austin Vida magazine I hadn’t seen Cilantro Boombox in over two years. At the time, I found the band’s blend of reggae, pop and Latin music intriguing if not mind-blowing. I was not at all prepared for the eight-piece powerhouse that deployed explosive brass and mighty rhythm to demolish an hour-long set at Spiderhouse Ballroom on Friday night.
“I’d have to say that we’ve had the current musicians for a little over a year now. But the version you saw last night, which I like to call Cilantro 2.0, was introduced mid December,” trombonist/vocalist Chris “Zumbi” Richards said on Saturday morning.
The band recently ditched the computer they were using to construct grooves in favor of a “more organic” sound. The move paid off in a big way. Throughout the set, the four-piece horn section delivered a wall of sound. Polyrhythmic patterns from a duo of drummers and the bombastic bass work of Félix Pacheco issued an indomitable rallying cry to the hundreds of fans who braved the cold and rain to dance with abandon in the steamy Spiderhouse Ballroom.
Though there’s no major recording on the horizon, the band’s profile is rapidly rising. “Our 2015 plans, so far, are to add new songs to our repertoire, create a few music videos, and get on the festival circuit,” Richards said.